(a) The primary purpose of this part is to provide means and procedures for the adoption of children and adults that recognize and effectuate to the greatest extent possible the rights and interests of persons affected by adoption, especially those of the adopted persons, which are specifically protected by the constitutions of the United States and the state of Tennessee and to those ends seek to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that:
(1) Children are removed from the homes of their parents or guardians only when that becomes the only alternative that is consistent with the best interest of the child;
(2) Children are placed only with those persons who have been determined to be capable of providing proper care and a loving home for an adopted child;
(3) The rights of children to be raised in loving homes that are capable of providing proper care for adopted children and that the best interests of children in the adoptive process are protected;
(4) The adoptive process protects the rights of all persons who are affected by that process and who should be entitled to notice of the proceedings for the adoption of a child;
(5) The adoption proceedings are held in an expeditious manner to enable the child to achieve permanency, consistent with the child's best interests, at the earliest possible date; and
(6) The adopted child is protected in the child's adoptive relationship from any interference by any person who may have some legal claim after the child has become properly adjusted to the child's adoptive home.
(b) The secondary purpose of this part is to:
(1) Protect biological parents and guardians of children from decisions concerning the relinquishment of their parental or guardian's rights to their children or wards that might be made as a result of undue influence or fraud;
(2) Protect adoptive parents from assuming the care and responsibility for a child about whose physical, mental, emotional, and hereditary background they are unaware;
(3) Protect the adoptive parents from the later disturbance of their parental relationship with their child by the biological or prior legal parents of the child who may have some legal claim due to the failure to protect their legal rights; and
(4) Provide adoption promotion and support services and activities designed to encourage early permanency and adoptions, when adoptions promote the best interests of children, including such activities as pre-adoptive and post-adoptive services and activities designed to expedite the adoption process.
(c) The purpose of this part shall also be to favor the rights of adopted persons or other persons for whom any closed records are maintained and their families to obtain information concerning the lives of those persons and to permit them to obtain information about themselves from the adoption records, sealed records, sealed adoption records, or post-adoption records to which they are entitled, but also to recognize the rights of parents and adopted persons not to be contacted by the persons who obtain such information, except in compliance with this part.
(d) In all cases, when the best interests of the child and those of the adults are in conflict, such conflict shall always be resolved to favor the rights and the best interests of the child, which interests are hereby recognized as constitutionally protected and, to that end, this part shall be liberally construed.
Acts 1951, ch. 202, § 1 (Williams, § 9572.15); T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 36-101; Acts 1995, ch. 532, § 1; 1996, ch. 1054, §§ 1, 2; 1998, ch. 1097, § 1.